Exactly What It Says on the Tin, more or less. It could be a Mook, The Tagalong Kid, The New Guy, or The Idiot of the Group, but on a random lark, you show them your math homework/accounting/hyper-dimensional missile schematics. Within seconds, they know what's going on, where the problem is, what to do to fix that, and then proceeds to spell it out, astonishing the entire group. When prompted, they generally explain they grew up on a math farm or something of the like or just simply, "I'm good with numbers." Can be anything from rapidfire simple math to supplementing baseball with trig projections (but then, you're just awesome that way.) Is generally a Chekhov's Gun for a plotpoint later in the episode, or can evolve into a Running Gag for the series and short hand for doing mathstuff really fast. Rather logically, the Robot Buddy and The Spock often have this ability. It's also a common ability of the Idiot Savant.
Definitely Truth in Television, as quite a few people in Real Life have this ability. Most of them are mathematicians, but not all of them. In fact, there are even competitions for mental math.
May sometimes speak with a Mouthful of Pi. See also Mad Mathematician, Number Obsession, and Clock King. May result from Super Intelligence. Calculus Is Arcane Knowledge is a good way to show this.
Examples
- Pinoko from Black Jack, who memorized her guardian's credit card number so she could follow him anywhere he went.
- Rokuro from Deadman Wonderland. Woo, he even calls himself the human calculator.
- Sadaharu Inui, the Seigaku Genius Bruiser from The Prince of Tennis. This makes him victim of Flanderization in both fanon and canon.
- Despite his general doofiness, Yakitate!! Japan's Azuma Kazuma turns out to be nothing short of a mathematical genius when he solves a cryptographic problem in base 26 in less than a minute.
- A Certain Magical Index
- It's not made a big deal of or even really mentioned outright (in the anime, anyway), but this is a necessary ability for Accelerator to actually use his esper ability properly. The nerf he gets is actually based on brain damage that affects his mathematics ability and requires a ten thousand person Hive Mind to correct for a mere 15 minutes at a time. It gets better, as GROUP's enhancements are able to extend his Esper Mode to 30 minutes, then he himself manages to reduce his battery consumption by 90 percent so he can use it for undertaking longer missions.
- It's been implied that the more powerful an Esper is, the more likely that he is this kind of person. Dark Matter, Railgun, and Meltdowner are all very powerful espers with immense Physics (and, you guessed it, Math) knowledge. Teleporters (except Kill Point) can calculate up to the eleventh dimension.
- Index herself, due to her incredible memory, is also a hot hand at numbers.
- This is Kenji's defining ability in Summer Wars. He's so damn good he solves 256-bit encryption in his head.
- Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's
- The supplementary manga revealed that, much to the competitive Alisa's chagrin, both Nanoha and Fate are like this. Fate especially, to the point where Nanoha's sister goes to her for help on her high school math homework even though Fate's in elementary school. The same chapter also mentioned that the magic in the series requires a good bit of math, so being good with numbers is one of the reasons why they're both top mages.
- There's also Hayate, who is the only known member of the TSAB with a SS ranking. Since she didn't develop her powers like everyone else she's not as good with spell control and multitasking, and has to have Long Arch or Reinforce aim for her.
- Inverted in Nichijou. Nano, a robot girl who wishes she wasn't, apparently has trouble solving "3260 plus 260, divided by 320," even going so far as to pull out an abacus to work out the problem. The Professor on the other hand...
Nano: You can get out (of the bath) in 10.
Professor: 20log√10! - In Code Geass, several of Lelouch's Humongous Mecha require his superior mathematical skills, including his Shinkiro's absolute defense shield and the anti-FLEIJA device which required incredibly complex calculations to be input within 19 seconds of use.
- Fushimi Saruhiko from K is revealed to be this in the interview with Misaki on the Drama CD. He manages to solve an equation Misaki came up with (just spouting numbers, basically) in a split second.
Misaki: Alright. Here we go~ Question: What is 37 + 21 - 44 × 17 / 4?
Saruhiko: 59.5.
Misaki: ...Eh?
Saruhiko: 59.5. But if you calculate it in proper order ^{note } it would be -129. - Cocoa of Is the Order a Rabbit? may be very spacey, but she is something of a mathematics savant, able to calculate large sums instantly and can count prime numbers up to the thousands.
- Riko from Maho Girls Pretty Cure! is actually a Cute Witch from the Magical Land who transfered into Mirai's school in the Non Magic World. Despite this, she's the only one who got a perfect score in math. In a hilarious contrast, Mirai had the worst score (26%) despite averting Book Dumb for every other subject, including English.
- A character in Psychometrer, continuation of Psychometrer Eiji, fits this trope well. He was first introduced as a carefree and seemingly idiot guy but was soon revealed after his Unlucky Childhood Friend died from hit-and-run disguised as a train accident to be a math genius. In later appearance during "Heart Collector" case, he conducted calculations for geographic profiling in a relatively short time without pen and papers. In fact, his depicted math skill is so good he's able to predict someone's death.
- Kaguya-sama: Love Is War:
- Ishigami manages to get an A in math despite his complete apathy towards school. Shirogane (himself a Teen Genius) is willing to beg him to not quit the student council, claiming that they'd go bankrupt without him.
- Shirogane's little sister Kei is also implied to be good in math, given that she's the treasurer for the middle school student council and in charge of the family's finances.
- Various signs indicates the Teen Genius reputation of Misa from Asteroid in Love comes from the mathematical sciences. For example, suggesting her sister Mira to derive physical equations herself, naming the school's koi after physicists, and Moe's comment that Misa is incapable of handling things that can't be put into numbers.
- William of Moriarty the Patriot teaches university-level mathematics for a living. It would be rather concerning if he weren't. Most notable when he does the math for Sherlock during The Two Detectives.
- Dr. STONE:
- Senku, being a Teen Genius, is naturally able to do complex calculations on the fly — he was able to accurately guess the measurements of a pop star who'd been dead for over 3000 years, solely from remembering a photo of her with someone whose height he knew. Plus he was petrified into a statue in an area with no sunlight, but knew exactly the date and time he was finally freed by counting every second during the thousands of years he was stuck. And he had to be constantly doing math in his head, without losing count. As insane as that sounds, to him, it was necessary to synchronize with time so he wouldn't risk waking up and dying in the winter.
- Gen also counts. He was able to figure out Senku's birthday solely from Senku telling him how many seconds he'd been alive, and knowing the date from what Senku wrote on a tree. And he does this all in his head, since he figures it out before Senku, Chrome, and Magma leave for the cave.
- One of the talents of Golgo 13 is an exceptional head for math. It's to be expected, given how much math is involved in successfully lining up a sniper shot. He once killed two snipers coming after him using "super scopes" mostly by solving extremely difficult equations in his head. (By studying the way the snipers were firing at him, Duke figured out that the scopes had a flaw in that they couldn't adjust for gradient shifts; he then calculated where on the battlefield would have a gradient that would render the scopes useless, put himself there, and blew both of them away.)
- The Incredible Hulk: Teen Genius Amadeus Cho can do advanced physics in his head, complete with glowing diagrams around him. He's claimed to be good enough that he can use math to stop a charging rhino with a grape seed, and proved it when he fought the freaking Hulk.
- Superman: Red Son establishes that Lex Luthor is a super-genius scientist at STAR Labs. This isn't really surprising, but this trope comes in when he casually hands his OSS handler a formula to balance the economy. However, he says it's just the principles, and the Treasury will have to do the number-crunching for the specifics.
- The Alternate Universe premise of a Harry Potter fan fic The Arithmancer by White Squirrel is that Hermione is this, both a lightning calculator and a mathematics prodigy. Also a part of its premise is that Arithmancy is not just about divination with numbers but also about spell creation and modification, which makes said trait highly relevant.
- Downplayed in Risk It All. According to Ren, his grades are nothing to be impressed by. But he's clearly studied up on probability and statistics to the point of calculating the likelihood of what the next card is in a game of Blackjack. Due to his own streak of bad luck, he relies much more on math than good fortune when gambling.
- A Certain Droll Hivemind: Misaka-11111 is very annoyed that she keeps getting marked down on her math homework, because all her answers are correct but she doesn't show her work. She's basically a math genius connected to a Hive Mind of fellow math geniuses; she knows much, much more than her teachers on the subject.
Misaka-11111: They will probably also deduct me marks because while my physics homework correctly accounted for the presence of AIM fields when citing Gauss' Law, it was necessary to write very very small to fit the modified version of the equation into the space provided, and I did not have space to provide adequate citations. Failure to provide citations is an actual offence. I looked at Abe Eiko's homework when she was handing it in. She had provided no citations at all. And had not even filled in some of the boxes. At least I should get higher marks than her.
- Frozen alludes to Elsa being this, as she describes her snow designs as "fractals" in "Let It Go", which was an advanced geometry concept for her time period, and the scenes imply that she's thinking mathematically as she constructs her ice castle so that it doesn't collapse from poor structure. In the companion picture book A Sister More Like Me, it's also stated that Elsa loves geometry.
- In Zootopia, Judy Hopps proves herself to be this when she calculates just how much (untaxed) income Nick Wilde has earned with his scams, while blackmailing him into helping her investigation by threatening him with charges of tax evasion.
Judy: Two hundred dollars a day, 365 days a year since you were twelve. That's two decades, so times 20 which is $1,460,000, I think! I mean, I am just a "dumb bunny", but we are good at multiplying.
- In The Dark Knight, Lau explicitly states that he is "good with calculation" while attempting to betray the whole Gotham mafia. He intends to leave with the money they entrusted him with. Had it not been for Batman and his brutal ways, he would have been able to actually make it. Though it is quite possible that the Joker himself had been planning it all since the very beginning — he is quite the Crazy-Prepared guy.
- Cube:
- Played straight with Kazan, the autistic savant.
- Averted with Leaven, who initially notices the pattern of prime numbers marking traps and so is tapped as the brain of the group. But as Quentin applies pressure and insists that she has "a gift", she fires back that he could do the same and should chip in.
- Wynn from the prequel Cube Zero. Depending on how you interpret the ending, he may be the same person as Kazan.
- Ben Campbell from the movie 21, but that's to be expected when he counts cards as a part time job. His Establishing Character Moment is him verbally tallying up a complicated order for a customer at a clothing store, including knocking off part of the price by applying his own employee discount towards the order, all without aid of a pen and paper or calculator. In the trailer, the math is written out on screen for the benefit of the audience, though that bit was left out in the movie itself.
- John Nash of both real life and the biographic film A Beautiful Mind. He manipulates glasses of water to alter the optic lines refracting through them to match a tie on the other side, solves complex cryptograms based on the Sierpinski Gasket in his head and revolutionizes all economic theory since Adam Smith. He's also crazy as a loon.
- At the end of the third Alternate Universe live-action Death Note movie, L adopts a Thai kid who's good with math. It's heavily suggested the kid grows up to be Near.
- Harold Crick in Stranger Than Fiction. A routine occurrence in his life is being given math equations by his coworkers, which he solves in his head instantly.
- Good Will Hunting. Will's genius is "discovered" while he's working as a janitor at MIT. In just a few minutes, he solves an impossibly complex combinatorics problem that was left on the chalkboard after everyone went home. Prof. Lambeau had given his students the entire semester to work it out.
- In The Sunset Limited, Black learned to do arithmetic with big numbers in his head while in the jailhouse.
Black: Numbers is the black man's friend. Butter and eggs. Crap table. You quick with numbers, you can work the mojo on you brother. Confiscate the contents of his pocketbook.
- Crossed with I Thought Everyone Could Do That in Matilda, where Matilda, on her first day of school, unhesitatingly answers a multiplication problem the teacher was using as an example of what the kids might be able to solve in several years. The teacher has to use a calculator to confirm the answer, and is suitably impressed.
- In the film Darkman II: The Return of Durant, Durant's henchman Edward is able to calculate the exact amount that henchman Rollo had stolen from Durant over the two and a half years he was in a coma.
- The title character of Rain Man can instantly multiply large numbers. On the other hand, he thinks everything from a pencil to a car costs "about 100 dollars".
- Downplayed in The Alice Network. Charlie was a math major and very good at accounting (she said she kept the books for her father). She describes herself as “faster than an adding machine.” She’s fond of calculating tips quickly in her head. However, her math skills, while better than most of the other characters', are hardly superhuman.
- In Holes, Zero is shown to be able to work out "26 × 2 = 52" and "26 / 5 = 5 with a remainder of 1" in his head instantly (and also to have good spatial logic), despite having no education whatsoever. Whenever Stanley asks how he got the answer, Zero simply replies, "That's just what it is", implying a Matilda-esque "instant calculator" ability.
- Matilda: Matilda, at age 5, can correctly answer seemingly any arithmetic operation instantly in her head, even if the numbers involved are in the hundreds or thousands. It's not known whether there's any limit at all to how high or arbitrary the numbers can be. And apparently she herself isn't entirely sure how she does it — when asked how she solved a multiplication operation involving numbers far beyond the 12 × 12 multiplication table, she hesitates and replies uncertainly, "I simply multiplied [X] by [Y] and got [Z]. I don't really know how else to explain it."
- Andrew Jackson "Slipstick" Libby from Robert A. Heinlein's Future History series. In his introductory short story "Misfit", he replaces a spaceship navigation computer by performing all spatial calculations needed to navigate the ship in real time in his head. And his mathematical genius comes to light when he warns of a critical calculation error made in setting a small nuclear charge based on what he's learned about laying the charges just by watching the officer making the calculations. ("Slipstick" is an in-universe nickname for a slide rule, a type of analog calculation aid common before hand-held calculators got good enough to do things like logarithms.)
- Also from Heinlein, Deety Carter from The Number of the Beast is as fast a calculator as Slipstick Libby. She also has a photographic memory and an incredibly precise circadian rhythm — i.e. a clock in her head. She's a slight subversion, though, in that she says that her lightning calculator ability is pointless with computers around (except that she can see a glitch in a program much more easily than most people).
- Romeo "Mo'Steel" Gonzalez from Remnants, able to tell how many years and days he had been in stasis with just a glance at a counter showing how many minutes had passed. It totaled "five-hundred years, twelve days, and some spare change."
- Wraith Squadron's Voort "Piggy" saBinring is an enhanced Gammorrean, and a math genius. During dogfights, while flying and fighting on his own, Piggy is capable of keeping track of his squadronmates and the enemy, and frequently chimes in with suggestions such as "Three, recommend you break left now" and "Nine, recommend you fire now." At the end of Solo Command, his realization about the true nature of an elite enemy squadron helps save the day.
- Otto Malpense from H.I.V.E. Series is the epitome of this trope; he figures out the equation that a computer is using to generate a bunch of moving lasers in his head, closes his eyes, and does the equivalent of walking in between raindrops, without getting hit. Justified, seeing as he's a geneticially-altered clone designed to have a brain with roughly the same processing power as a uber-intelligent AI, able to think both like a human and like a machine, and interact remotely with complicated computer systems and brush aside their security networks.
- Even Otto admits that Laura is better with numbers than he is. As she is trying to decrypt a message, her computer is sabotaged. Her solution? Go to another computer and regurgitate thousands upon thousands of unintelligible characters from memory. Shortly afterwards, she figures out the encryption. And she, unlike Otto, doesn't have a genetically augmented brain.
- In Scott Westerfeld's Midnighters trilogy, one of the special abilities you can have if you were born at midnight (and probably the most useful) is the ability to do lengthy, complex mathematical calculations easily in your head.
- Mark McHenry from Star Trek: New Frontier is specifically good with warp calculations, headings, speeds, and anything else related to navigation and piloting, much like the Star Trek examples below. In fact, at one point, a character specifically compares him to Data, in the "OK, the last time someone was this good, he was an android; what's up with this one?" sense. We eventually learn that Mark is a descendent of Apollo (from the original series), and linked at some basic level to the universe at large.
- Discworld
- The Bursar of Unseen University is this. Years ago, he was "a man whose idea of an exciting time had once been a boiled egg", and he has been driven totally, completely insane over the course of several books by Archchancellor Ridcully's habit of shouting at him and generally being as Hammy as possible. However, if you ask the Bursar a question that has anything to do with math (as his title suggests) he is able to answer it no matter which reality curve his mind is riding at the time. Since it's difficult to tell if he's really all right after things like nasty shocks, in later books this becomes a way of diagnosing him; if he can still answer a math question correctly and immediately, he's close enough to "fine" that it doesn't really matter. Ridcully even seems to know this:
Chair of Indefinite Studies: I don't see why. Just because he can do things with numbers doesn't mean everything else is fine.
Ridcully: Doesn't need to be. Numbers is what he has to do. The poor chap might be slightly yo-yo, but I've been reading about it. He's one of these idiot servants.
Dean: Savants. The word is savants, Ridcully.
Ridcully: Whatever. Those chaps who can tell you what day of the week the first of Grune was a hundred years ago —
Bursar: — Tuesday —
Ridcully: — but can't tie their boot laces. - By Unseen Academicals, however, he has either lost several more of his faculties or just been retconned into an incompetent — Unseen University's finances are in a mess and Ponder Stibbons has had to take on the Bursar's job (in addition to his twelve official positions, and probably just about everything else that needs to get done, ever) because he "regards the decimal point as a nuisance". An Alternate Character Interpretation of this is that after discovering imaginary numbers and n-dimensional manifolds in The Science of Discworld, he refuses to descend from higher maths back to boring old arithmetic, and is trying to do the accounts with aleph-null and "umpt".
- Granny Weatherwax is described in Maskerade as "grudgingly literate, but keenly numerate". It takes her seconds to deduce how much Nanny Ogg is being screwed by the publisher of her cookbook, even taking into consideration things like the cost of materials and distribution. She is also able to figure out the finances of the opera house, which were expertly tampered with and deliberately obfuscated to hide an embezzlement scam.
- Pyramids introduces the greatest mathematician on the Disc... "You Bastard", a camel. Apparently, Discworld camels are secretly alarmingly intelligent and spend most of their time doing extremely complex equations in their heads. Although if they are bothered enough by some puny human, they can revert to good old trajectory calculation for a wad of spit in a heartbeat. In You Bastard's case, he's at the very least good enough to know exactly where to stomp in a spatial rift created by a nasty temporal clusterfuck in order to get inside the actual space the rift is hiding. It's...an odd moment.
- Mr. Bent in Making Money is exceedingly good with numbers, especially mental math, so much so that it's a momentous bank-closing event when he makes a mistake. He prohibits anyone working under him from using any calculators, since he consider that since human minds came up with numbers, them alone is enough to solve the problem. He also finds the imprecision of the Bank clocks "offensive" and fixes them several times a day. By the end of the book we find out that he was raised by a caravan of traveling accountants after running from the circus, although his talent with numbers happens even before, given that he impresses the caravaneers by able to figure out total calculation with just a glance.
- The Bursar of Unseen University is this. Years ago, he was "a man whose idea of an exciting time had once been a boiled egg", and he has been driven totally, completely insane over the course of several books by Archchancellor Ridcully's habit of shouting at him and generally being as Hammy as possible. However, if you ask the Bursar a question that has anything to do with math (as his title suggests) he is able to answer it no matter which reality curve his mind is riding at the time. Since it's difficult to tell if he's really all right after things like nasty shocks, in later books this becomes a way of diagnosing him; if he can still answer a math question correctly and immediately, he's close enough to "fine" that it doesn't really matter. Ridcully even seems to know this:
- Talen from The Elenium is of the "can do normal math really fast" variety, which he claims developed from practice, and the need for a thief to do on-the-spot appraisals and fence stolen goods. His skill instead comes into play during the Church election's political maneuvering and vote tallying.
- The atevi from C. J. Cherryh's Foreigner (1994) series. Forming grammatically correct sentences in their language requires mentally doing simple algebra, and they all have the ability to instantly and accurately count things. Further, their cultures have developed a number of extremely complex systems of numerology, which the majority of atevi treat as Serious Business.
- Opal from The Vampire Files used to earn extra tips as a waitress by solving math problems in her head as a bar trick. When she did this for a mob boss, he hired her on the spot as a bookkeeper: a job at which she excelled so well that she figured out how much he'd been skimming off the top, based on indirect evidence in his gang's finances.
- Keladry, the protagonist of Protector of the Small, is very good at math. During her page years it's her best subject, and it allows her to assist in engineering projects when she becomes a knight commanding a fort.
- Thursday's daughter Tuesday in the Thursday Next books is possibly the greatest mathematical genius of all time. She proved there are seven more even numbers than odd ones, and her boyfriend Gavin discovered a three digit even prime number. Not bad going for a sixteen year old.
- The title character of Horatio Hornblower does math effortlessly and finds it hard to understand how other people have difficulty. This makes him very good at navigation and whist.
- The mice from The Underland Chronicles, judging by their Theme Naming, and Lizzie in Gregor and The Code of Claw.
- Uesugi of Tantei Team KZ Jiken Note, being called "the numbers guy" in-universe.
- Kel Cheris of The Machineries of Empire is extremely good with numbers, to the point she can create entire new geometric formations on the fly - which is Serious Business when your entire magic system is based around geometry.
- David Auburn's play Proof, about a brilliant mathematics professor who gradually lost his mind and his daughter, who is likely even more gifted than he is and terrified of going down the same path, takes this trope apart. Of the play's four characters, three—Robert (the professor), Catherine (his elder daughter), and Hal (one of Robert's former students)—are experts in the field of theoretical mathematics, often rattling off data about "interesting" numbers (sums of sequences of primes, for example). Their interests in this highly abstract field is contrasted with Claire, Catherine's elder sister who lives in New York and is far more grounded in reality than the others. However, Claire herself also qualifies for this trope: she tells Hal that she works as a currency analyst and is extremely quick with numbers, a valuable asset in her field. Much of the play's tension comes from the two versions of this trope—theoretical versus practical math—as represented by the two sisters.
- The reason Miryem's father is a moneylender in Spinning Silver is because he does have a natural gift with numbers, so his poor family apprenticed him to a moneylender for his trade. Unfortunately, he's too kindhearted to actually force anyone to pay him back (as well as fearing the appearance of a Greedy Jew, given that they're the only Jewish family and easily vulnerable). Miryem reflects that if he was as good at reading as he was with math, he could have been a fine rabbi.
- Daylen in Shadow of the Conqueror was educated in math from an early age, and always had a knack for it. His mathematical reasoning is part of the reason why he's a master engineer and sunsmith, and he also excels at gambling (specifically races) because of his ability to read statistics.
- Ascendance of a Bookworm: This is the asset that lets Myne take her first step up from "just a poor family's sickly child". Having figured out how numbers in her new world work from seeing them at the market, she impresses one of her father's colleagues, who actually knows how to do math, with her calculation skills. Much later, balancing account books ends up being the bulk of the work she does at the temple. One of the few moments of humor on the part of Myne's mentor at the temple is referring to her as his calculator.
- In Momo, the inhuman Grey Men have a remarkable facility with numbers involving time, being able to state ages down to the second and rattle off complicated calculations about how much time has been expended on various tasks.
- The Odd Squad Agent's Handbook mentions that creatures apparently love to do math and are quite proficient in it, a difference that they share with animals.
- Scarlett O'Hara of Gone with the Wind is Book Dumb but when it comes to business and finance, she's sharp. She can swiftly add a long column of figures in her head and has no difficulties with fractions, much to her second husband's dismay.
- Matt, Shirley's Love Interest in The Adventures of Shirley Holmes. He even goes to a school for genius kids, and helps Bo with the answers in a math-based Game Show so he'll be able to get in as well.
- Fred Burkle from Angel is a math genius, and often uses the skill to help the team. Her math skill is so great that, in one episode, a group of demons attempts to cut off her head and steal her brain after she solves a puzzle for them.
- Face, on The A-Team, is brilliant with numbers. Naturally he's in charge of the team's finances, which he keeps record of in a little black book (not that he needs it — he's really good at mental math).
- Doctor Who:
- "The Invasion": Zoe calculates the trajectories to destroy the Cybermen's entire invasion fleet with a handful of missiles. In her head. In thirty seconds. It works a treat.
- Adric is the proud possessor of a badge for mathematical excellence, and has demonstrated proficiency at the reality-warping mathematics that is Block Transfer Computation.
- The Doctor himself is often described as a genius and occasionally demonstrates. In the Expanded Universe novel Interference, the Doctor briefly transports himself out of a cell using pure mathematics (presumably the same Block Transfer Computation that Adric used).
- "The Impossible Planet": The Doctor works out the gravitational mathematics of a gravity cone extending from a black hole with a pocket calculator in a matter of minutes.
Captain: It took us two years to work that out!
The Doctor: [shrugs] I'm very good. - "42": The Doctor effortlessly solves a mathematical riddle by recognising a series of happy primes.
The Doctor: Honestly, don't they teach recreational mathematics anymore?
- Donna Noble names the trope in "The Doctor's Daughter" while explaining how she used the mathematical skills she picked up as a temp to figure out what was going on with a series of plaques engraved with numbers. She also claims to have mastered the Dewey Decimal System in two days flat while working at a library.
- Although she had already been shown as intelligent and able to adapt to technology quickly, Clara Oswald's ability to do complex math in her head under stress in "Last Christmas" scares even the Doctor.
- Used for amazing awesomeness in "The Day of the Doctor", the show's 50th anniversary special. The Tenth, Eleventh, and War Doctors come up with a plan to save the planet of Gallifrey by sealing it inside a fixed point outside of space and time, which requires them to pilot their TARDISes to specific points on the planet's circumference. The Gallifreyan War Council thinks it a lost cause, pointing out that just working out the calculations for such a plan would take "hundreds and hundreds of years." The Doctors agree, then reveal "I started a very long time ago." Then comes a Wham Shot — a fourth TARDIS flying into view — and a shocking line: "Calling the War Council of Gallifrey, this is the Doctor!" ...as spoken by the First version of the Time Lord. Cue every single incarnation of the Doctor showing up in their own TARDISes, flying into position to save the day; presumably, the Doctor sent the plan back to his "original" self, giving all thirteen of them (the number at the time) countless millennia to do the math required to make it happen.
- In the Fast Money section of Family Feud, Steve Harvey always tells the number of points the second contestant needs to reach 200. (He did get it wrong once.)
- River Tam from Firefly:
Kaylee: She just did the math.
Zoe: You understand how that sounds?
Jayne: What? She killed them with math. What else could it have been? - On Friends Chandler is irked whenever people concede that "numbers" is about all he has going for him. "Math? You're giving me math?"
- Olivia Dunham on Fringe is shown to have an eidetic memory for numbers and patterns, but it apparently doesn't grant her any greater ability to perform calculations.
- In Kaamelott, Perceval is an Idiot Savant. He is utterly clueless about map-reading and cardinal points, can't go in a forest without getting lost, don't understand a thing about dates and fail even the most basic logic... Yet he is a goddamn genius with numbers and mathematics; he can do mental calculations lightning-fast, understands games with impossibly complicated rules, and is apparently unbeatable at the shell game....
- The Kicks: Devin's brother Bailey is so good at math that he doesn't even feel the need to pay attention in class.
- Sayid establishes his "good with numbers" cred in the pilot of Lost by figuring out that 17,294,535 iterations of a 30-second message would take 16 years, 5 months. It takes him about one cycle of the message to calculate this.
- Malcolm from Malcolm in the Middle can do mental math with Credit Cards Numbers. At one point he helped his dad win at poker by being able to calculate the exact probabilities of the availability of certain cards.
- Adam Savage of the MythBusters has been shown occasionally counting how many frames of high-speed camera footage an object takes to cross a given distance (typically a foot), then doing a series of rapid-fire mental calculations in order to find out its speed in miles per hour.
- In earlier seasons, he'd give the chance of something happening in percentages. Every time, he got it to add up to 100%. (Even Jamie managed to fall victim to Too Many Halves at least once.) After the fact, he did occasionally forget the actual ratios he'd used, though.
- Nash Bridges had Barry Chen in "Wild Card". He was played by Tommy Chong, but as Nash points out about Barry, the Comptroller for the Chinese Triads in San Francisco, that if he gets involved with anything with numbers, he goes from "idiot" to "savant" very quickly. Played for Drama since Barry had cleaned out Cedrick "Rick" Hawks at poker, and Barry told Rick, "Those hands were golden" when Rick thought Barry cheated.
- Jemadar Thapa, a Gurkha who makes two guest appearances on NCIS: Los Angeles, is good enough to come up with his own equations for successful sniping. This becomes a plot point when he helps the OSP investigate a sniper attack and discovers those equations in the sniper nest. It helps him figure out that at least one of his buddies has gone rogue.
- Lisa from NewsRadio often does large calculations in her head. People tend to ask her large multiplication questions whenever they can fit it into a conversation.
- Professor Charlie Eppes from NUMB3RS, who uses his skills to solve homicides.
- Near the end of The Prisoner (1967), Number Six mentions being good with figures, though it's not prominently demonstrated — it's probably more for ironic contrast with his resistance to being numbered.
- In a classic Saturday Night Live sketch, Phil Hartman plays Ronald Reagan as a friendly, slightly dim old man for the cameras and the public, but a genius mastermind behind closed doors, including the ability to do complex calculations in his head.
President Reagan: Bye bye! (Girl Scout exits Oval Office) Okay, back to work! (staff re-enters) Afghanistan needs more money. We've got $65.2 million tucked away in Zurich. Now, if we hold it there for another 30 days, at 7.28% interest, that's.. roughly.. $400,000.
Staffer #1: (with calculator) $397,200..
President Reagan: .. and 85 cents! I know! Don't waste my time! But.. if we take out only $20 million, we lose.. let's see, let's see.. that's..
Staffer #1: $121,800..
President Reagan: and 16 cents! Thank you so much! - Sylvester in Scorpion. Walter's opening monologue even describes him as a 'human calculator'.
- In Spartacus: Blood and Sand, the gladiator Ashur uses this talent to gamble, and when he becomes crippled, his master allows him to be his accountant.
- Eli Wallace from Stargate Universe is a math prodigy. He is recruited into the Stargate program after solving a mathematical proof embedded in a video game. His math skills periodically come in handy, such as in "Light" when he quickly works out an intercept course for the shuttle.
Rush: Whoa-whoa-whoa. Eli, there's many variables here. Are you sure about this?
Eli: Math boy.- Put it this way: Rush is an Insufferable Genius of the highest caliber, who can barely tolerate working with others because they can't keep up with his thought processes. He admits that Eli is smarter than him in some respects, and if he ever admits he needs help with something, Eli's the guy he goes to for it.
- Star Trek:
- Star Trek: The Original Series sets the standard with The Spock himself. This is the guy who instantly calculates that after three days, one tribble will become 1,771,561 tribbles.
- On Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Dr. Bashir starts displaying this characteristic after it's revealed that he's genetically engineered and therefore has (among other benefits) a superior brain.
O'Brien: The core matrix is fried. We don't have warp drive.
Garak: Forgive my ignorance, but if we don't have warp drive, how long is it going to take us to reach the closest Federation starbase?
O'Brien: A long time, Mr. Garak.
Garak: How long?
Bashir: Seventeen years, two months and three days, give or take an hour. - Star Trek: The Next Generation: Likewise, Data is pretty good at math. It's to the point that the one time he fails at making a complex calculation in less than a second is evidence that a situation is not what it seems.
- Lulu from True Jackson, VP. In one episode, she's hired to be an assistant. When she finishes all the work, another co-worker asks her to solve a math problem on the chalkboard. After a while, she figures out the board was upside down and turns it the right way and solves it.
- The pilot episode of White Collar demonstrates Caffrey's amazing mathematics. He calculates 64 years of compound interest in a few seconds, then follows that up with the much more difficult task of dividing 600 by 4.
- GURPS has the advantage Lightning Calculator to simulate this; the second level of it allows the character to do things like high-level engineering design in their head instantly.
- The Talent "Lightning Calculator" in Hero System lets a character do things like calculate an approach orbit for his spaceship in twelve seconds. Simpler calculations such as multiplying 4824 by 5933 would only take one second.
- An interesting variation in JAGS Wonderland: the inhabitants of Wonderland run on literary logic, not physics, but they are utterly incapable of understanding actual math (with the sole exception of the "beings" in the Department of Works). Humans can understand and exploit both, eventually obtaining superpowers. The kicker? When humankind reaches the Department of Works, they'll "break" the world and transcend reality and madness themselves. Not if, when.
- The World Ends with You
- Sho Minamimoto, to the point of almost having the whole trope named after him. It even carries into his stats. His Hit Points are 3141 when you fight him at the end of Week 2, and his Taboo Form Hit Points are 5926. Put them together and tuck a decimal point behind the three and you have the first eight digits of pi.
- Neku could also apply for being able to belt out the square root of 3 at the drop of a hat (during day two of the second week, for those who wanted to know), but he could also have a calculator on his phone.
- Joshua is good enough with numbers to at least keep up with Minamimoto's ranting, though his status as the Composer might have something to do with this.
- Dmitri Petrovich of Backyard Sports has this, coupled with the ability to use mnemonics to remember stats.
- In Granblue Fantasy, this is a part of what makes Mahira so good with machines and some of the other crew members occasionally consult her for help on math issues.
- Ran Yakumo of the Touhou Project series. She once calculated the width of the Sanzu River out of boredom. Note that the Sanzu River is the mystical river of the dead and that its width constantly changes whenever someone passes through it. In Curiosities of Lotus Asia, when Rinnosuke first saw a computer and learned that it's used for, he interpreted them as being the outside world's version of familiars like Ran, because they're slaves that are used to calculate things quickly. Of course, since a familiar's power is derived from its master, Yukari Yakumo is even better at numbers than Ran, and Ran mentions that if Yukari wanted, she could have calculated the depth of the Sanzu River as well, even though it's known to be bottomless.
- N from Pokémon Black and White. He rambles about formulas several times, and is seeking "the equation to change the world".
- Surprisingly for an Ax-Crazy gun-toting maniac, Trevor Philips from Grand Theft Auto V is actually this. He knows exactly how much cargo comes through the port of Los Santos every year and exactly how much it's worth, and in the "Subtle" approach for the final heist, mentally calculates how much the four tons of gold they're carrying is worth when told the individual value of each bar faster than the bank manager can. Wade even states plainly that Trevor is really good with numbers.
- Alice from Virtue's Last Reward is definitely this. She can do a factorization of a 25-digit number in her head nearly instantly.
- Implied for the player character in Super Sized Family as Torri always goes to you for help doing her math homework.
- Suzuka Gozen from Fate/Grand Order. She gives no explanation for the skill but she can compute numbers on par with an alien supercomputer.
- Major Deanna McOnie from Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown uses this trope to make her Improbable Aiming Skills, as she had to use a paper-printed range table to calculate a firing trajectory for the final Stonehenge cannon using UTM coordinates and compensating for the Coriolis Effect and other atmospheric conditions in a real hurry.
- WarioWare: 9-Volt is good with numbers when it comes to video games, such as stats in a Role-Playing Game. When he complains about math class, his companion Fronk works this to his advantage by telling him to contextualize math like a video game.
Fronk: Let's see here... Huh. 100 minus 56.
9-Volt: [groans]
Fronk: How 'bout this? A hero has 100 hit points and takes 56 damage from an enemy. What's his remaining HP?
9-Volt: 44... right?
Fronk: Exactly! Good work! Now let's try the next one. A wizard casts 12 spells and each deals 42 damage. What's the total damage?
9-Volt: 504!
Fronk: A-ha! See? You are good at math!
- Red vs. Blue subverts this with Simmons proclaiming to be able to multiply large numbers in his head instantly. He can't.
Grif: What's... 32 times 56?
Simmons: 31,452.
Sarge: Is that right?
Simmons: Yes.
Sarge: That's pretty impressive!
Simmons: I know. It's a gift.
- The correct answer is 1792. God knows where he got 31,452. Even 100 times 100 is only 10,000.
- Laetre, a hamster showed some mathematical aptitude in one comic of Hamleto the Hamster.
- Dubious Company: This is the closest Future High Priestess Sal gets to superpowers, since religion is NOT magic. She can rapidly calculate the probability of anything based on known factors. Heartwrenching when she calculates the odds of escaping Kreedor's castle before her execution as 0%.
- The Order of the Stick: Kobold Chancellor Kilkil shows on several occasions that he's Good with Numbers. No surprise here, as he's the main accountant of a whole Lawful Evil Empire.
- Parson Gotti of Erfworld isn't innately good with numbers. But he does have a pocket calculator, which in the game is regarded as something of a magic artifact, and is insanely good at calculating battle outcome probabilities (this is only partially due to the calculator). At least everything thinks he is. Probabilities being what they are, it's hard to prove one way or the other.
- El Goonish Shive: Grace is, as she says in this comic:
Is this one of my [...] powers? Like being super good at math?
The cube root of 857.375 is 9.5! KA-BLAMMO! - Steven in Ask White Pearl and Steven (almost!) anything is "apparently pretty good at [math]", developing a liking towards puzzle books in response.
- Andi, the protagonist of Lovelace ˝, goes from being a poor maths student to spontaneously able to solve problems as fast as she can speak or write at the beginning of the story.
- WitchCraft SMP: Time Master powers aside, Cleo's preferred style of magic is through the Hex Casting mod and their geometrical imbuing of crystals, a system heavily based on mathematics and computer science. She's the only known person to practise this style of magic other than El, whom she taught the style to.
- The Number Man of Worm, who has this as an actual superpower, to the point where he can calculate the exact probability of any outcome in the middle of combat, and in his youth was a legendary, undefeated member of the Slaughterhouse Nine. His power's broad scope also enables him to trivially crack encryption, model statistics on a large scale, and play the world economy like a fiddle.
- Fenton Crackshell from DuckTales (1987) has the uncanny ability to precisely count any large quantity at a glance. Originally working at a bean factory as a literal bean counter, he is hired as Scrooge McDuck's accountant because of his amazing talent (and because he works cheap). Later he defeats an alien computer by beating it at a counting contest. Fenton proved himself when Scrooge blasted him with a shotgun and Fenton counted the buckshot as they were fired. Scrooge was obviously stunned at this ability and had it confirmed when he suddenly tossed some coins into the air and challenged Fenton to assess their monetary value, Fenton's answer was correct to the penny. Later, after Fenton took the phrase "liquid assets" too literally and dumped all of Scrooge's money in a lake, Scrooge threatened Fenton with his job if even a single penny was missing. Fenton slapped on a snorkeling mask, looked underwater for a few seconds, then resurfaced and rattled off a number in the millions that was only short by one cent. The missing penny was caught in his mask, so the money was in fact all there. In "The Attack of the Metal Mites," Fenton realizes something's wrong near the end—and a lightning-quick count has him realize he's a Metal Mite short of all of them (where even one Mite loose could reproduce and begin trouble anew). He senses something about Scrooge, and taking a magnet, is able to attract the missing Metal Mite.
- Scrooge himself also qualifies. In another episode, he claims to have memorized the serial number of every dollar bill he's made.
- Leopold "Butters" Stotch from South Park falls into this trope, multiplying two large numbers almost instantaneously in one episode.
- The janitor in Recess is revealed to be this when he easily solves Gretchen's math problem after school. He's eventually approached by the military and scientists... but he turns them down, saying he'd rather just be a janitor.
- Rosie Grape from VeggieTales is the youngest member of her family, and also the only one that knew what seventy times seven was.
- Humorously averted by Bender on Futurama, even though he's a robot.
Bender: (doing calculations on a pad of paper) Aw, I need a calculator!
Fry: You are a calculator.
Bender: I meant a good calculator. - Twilight Sparkle from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic'. In part 1 of the season 3 premiere "The Crystal Empire", Twilight gives the square root of 546 as 23.36664289109 (which is truncated, as the last two, unmentioned digits of the root would round up).
- Grojband: Trina loves math and numbers. Of course, she hides this side of herself behind her alter-ego, Trigonometrina, as she'd never admit it in public.
- The opening episode of Season Three of Static Shock sees Richie, already something of a Gadgeteer Genius, going on an inventing kick that surprises even Virgil. Later, while at school, the boys' math teacher calls out Richie for doodling in class while he's presenting an extremely complicated math problem; Richie looks up at it for about two seconds and declares the answer. They're both signs that delayed exposure to "Bang Baby" gas has led him to develop Super Intelligence. In the series finale, this is inverted: Richie getting a B+ on a math test is the first sign that his and Virgil's powers are beginning to disappear thanks to the government's attempts to negate metahuman abilities.
- Scott Flansburg as seen in Stan Lee's Superhumans. He can do extremely complex math faster than a human using a real calculator.
- Carol Vorderman originally got the job on Countdown in part due to her ability to solve the Numbers Round in her head.
- Her Australian counterpart Lily Serna is equally adept. Some of her solutions beggar belief.
- Kim Peek, the real life inspiration for Rain Man.
- Arthur Benjamin is a Mathemagician, combining magic tricks with phenomenal mathematical ability. In his TED talk he squared a five digit number in his head correctly in just a couple of minutes, prompting a standing ovation.
- Indian mathematician Shakuntala Devi wasn't known as the 'human computer' for no reason. Among her many feats include multiplying two 13 digit numbers together in 28 seconds, and calculating the 23rd root of a 201 digit number in under a minute, the latter feat requiring a brand-new computer program to be written simply to confirm that her answer was correct (which, of course, it was).